Some skiers fancy speedy descents; others like to savor and leisurely enjoy the moment. Whichever category you belong to, riding the slopes is an experience that will leave your love for the great outdoors multiplied.
If you are like most skiers, you will want to have control over your speed, and traverse skiing, or ski sliding if you may, give you just that. It creates resistance, enabling you to descend slower, hence maximizing your time on the snowy slopes.
What Exactly Is Traversing Skiing?
Traverse skiing is simply skiing perpendicular to the slope. You will be sliding back and forth the slope at a right angle making a 180˚ turn each time you get to the end of the trail to glide back to the opposite direction.
Traversing can be performed when skiing steeps or when exploring easy runs. Ski sliding on difficult slopes enables you to maintain control throughout the trail while doing it on less steep slopes allows you to cover more of the trail at a relaxed pace.
Practicing the ski slide provides a great lower body and core workout. It also enables you to turn properly on skis.
How Skiers Benefit From Traverse Skiing
In addition to maximizing your time on the slopes, ski sliding is a great aerobic workout. You see, when you traverse, you engage your leg and core muscles, and this demands a lot of work from your slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are usually fueled by oxygen.
This intense workout strengthens the glutes, which is particularly beneficial to skiers who find trouble keeping their skis parallel. Successful traverse skiers reap greater benefits for the quad, calf, and thigh muscles. Other muscles that will be worked during a ski slide include obliques, adductors, and hamstrings.
How To Ski Slide
Before beginning your ski slide, you should determine your stronger foot, or rather, the foot you would prefer to be on the front when you slide. The simplest way to do the thing would be to ask someone to push you from the back while you are standing. The foot you put in front after you have been pushed should be your leading foot. It is also wise to practice on an obstacle like a rail or box before roughing it up on the slopes.
Here is how to do a ski slide:
- Begin with your legs bent, pushing off upwards with the knees and shoulders. If you are just getting started with skiing, you can push off with your leading leg.
- As you push off, turn both legs at 90˚, but keep your shoulders at the same position. Make sure your ski noses don’t hit the obstacle when you turn.
- Keep your legs shoulder-width apart and your center of gravity in the middle. Be prepared, as your legs will fly out a lot during the first few tries. You will need more time to perfect the action and effectively control your center of gravity.
- If the obstacle you are practicing on is long and constricted, you will need to catch your balance. To effectively do this, lean forward in the direction opposite to the one you are falling. Alternatively, rock the skis back and forth until you have found the perfect balance.
- While hopping off the obstacle, maintain your center of gravity and turn your legs together with the noses of your skis forward, back to the starting position.
Just like learning to traverse, you may want to hone your speed on an obstacle for a few days before heading out on the slopes. Otherwise, begin with a slope that is not too crowded to avoid getting in the way of other skiers.
To decrease or increase your speed on the slopes while traversing, lean either further up or further down the slope.
When you lean down the slopes, you make the skis flatter, preventing the edges from pushing so hard into the snow. This provides less resistance, enabling you to speed up.
To slow down, lean further up the slope so the skis can dip more into the snow. This will create more resistance, which will slow you down.
When ski sliding, you don’t have a very extensive stance, and your body will only need to make a slight movement to make a huge difference. If you are traversing but can’t seem to go as fast as you had hoped, chances are you are not leaning enough down the slope.
Many skiers, especially those who are still wet behind the ears, are afraid of leaning forward to ski slide effectively. Even with such a minimal movement required, they still can’t find the confidence.
Safe Ski Sliding
If you are skiing on an empty slope or a less crowded area, then traversing can be a very safe method, as it reduces your speed. However, if you are sharing the mountainside with skiers and snowboarders rapidly moving straight downhill, sliding sideways will be a safety hazard because you will be constantly at risk of being sideswiped by virtual “human missiles”.
When traverse skiing, always make sure to look uphill to ensure that the run is clear before turning and beginning your next side slide. On busy, steep slopes, consider skiing slightly more vertically so you are moving less against the traffic. Similarly, if you find that you are traversing too quickly on steep slopes, consider pointing your skis uphill to minimize your velocity until you have completely gained control.
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Traverse skiing gets you experiencing the thrill of skiing at a completely new level. It also gives you an amazing core and lower body workout, leaving you fitter and healthier.
Practice with an obstacle or isolated slopes and proceed to the difficult mountainside only when you have learned the ropes. Take ski lessons if necessary so you can learn the correct technique of ski sliding. Importantly, always be on the lookout for downhill skiers while on the slopes to ensure your safety and that of other skiers.
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- From Side To Slide, thegurdian.com